Bellevue SWAT team kills man in South Seattle


A Bellevue Police Department SWAT team attempting to serve arrest warrants at a South Seattle home early Friday morning fatally shot a man who was seated in a car.

Police spokeswoman Carla Iafrate said police were seeking suspects in a series of robberies in Bellevue and Seattle when they went to a home near South Hudson Street and 42nd Avenue South around 5 a.m.

A short time later, SWAT officers opened fire on a man in a gold Mercedes-Benz, Iafrate said. The man, whose identity has not been released, died a short time later at Harborview Medical Center, police said.

“Our officers were approaching [the home], and there was an individual in a vehicle,” said Iafrate. It wasn’t immediately known what prompted the officers to open fire.

Seattle police, who were assisting in serving the search warrants, are investigating the officer-involved shooting.

Iafrate said three Bellevue officers would be placed on administrative leave, standard procedure following a police shooting.

Police did not find a second suspect when they entered the home around 9:30 a.m. However, they made contact outside with the dead man’s brother, who was armed, said Seattle police spokeswoman Renee Witt. The brother was cleared as a suspect and was legally carrying the firearm, so he was allowed to leave with the gun.

A second suspect is being sought, police said.

Iafrate did not immediately have further information on the fatal shooting, how the South Seattle home was connected to the suspects, or when the robberies occurred.

According to neighbor Anthony Correa, the Mercedes-Benz is typically driven by the brother of the owner of the house that was targeted by police.

Juli and John Russell, who live across the street, said they were startled by gunfire, police yelling commands through a loudspeaker and the sight of a man’s body on their street.

“Early this morning we heard gunshots outside of our house. A lot of voices, yelling, at like 5 in the morning,” said Juli Russell, a graphic designer. “I was up already, and when I looked out the window my husband and I saw a car crash into another car, a Bellevue SWAT vehicle and a body that was shot.”

Neighbor David Keyes said, “We hunkered down on the floor in the bedroom and tried to stay safe. We knew this was not kids messing around with fireworks at 5 in the morning.”

He said police evacuated them from their home about a half-hour later.

SPD’s Witt said the departments had been working together on the case, and Seattle police were aware Bellevue officers were serving an arrest warrant.

Iafrate said it’s common for officers to work in other jurisdictions. Bellevue’s SWAT team was leading the operation, while Seattle police detectives were standing by to question the suspects.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @SeattleSullivan.

Seattle Times news producer Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report.